Do you know how to contrast things using in spite of, despite and although?

 

in spite of / despite / although

In spite of, despite and although are all used to show a contrast but there are differences in the structures used with them.

In spite of / despite

After in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun.

  • We enjoyed our camping holiday in spite of the rain.
  • Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon.
  • Despite having all the necessary qualifications, they didn’t offer me the job.

Remember that the gerund (‘-ing’ form) is the ‘noun’ form of a verb.

The only difference between in spite of and despite is the ‘of’.

  • Despite of the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match.

Although

After although we use a subject and a verb.

  • We enjoyed our camping holiday although it rained every day.
  • Although he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.
  • The holiday was great although the hotel wasn’t very nice.

We can use in spite of and despite with a subject and verb if we include the expression ‘the fact that’.

  • In spite of the fact that he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.
  • Despite the fact that he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.

Even though

Even though is a slightly stronger form of although.

  • We decided to buy the house even though we didn’t really have enough money.
  • You keep making that stupid noise even though I’ve asked you to stop three times.

Like although, even though is followed by a subject and a verb.

 

Exercise

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

It is a useful exercise.

Hello,

I have constructed a sentence using 'although' . Could you please tell me if there this is correct?

Although innovation is important for progression of humanity, removing traditions completely from our society would not greatly enhance the prospects of progress.

Hello Donald,

That sentence has only one error: it should be the progression of humanity.

The definite article is necessary here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter.

Hi,

I really can't grasp the difference between however and although !
Would you please clarify this?
Would you refer to a grammar book that explains this difference ?

Thanks in advance
Inas

Hello Inas

There is a detailed explanation on this BBC page describing different linking words to express contrast and I would recommend taking a close look at. In general, 'however' means 'but' and 'although' means something like 'despite the fact that'.

One important difference my students sometimes struggle with is that with 'although', both of the things that are being contrasted must be in the same sentence as the word 'although'. For example, you can say 'Although I didn't enjoy the film, I think it deserves an award.' but NOT 'I think it deserves an award. Although I didn't enjoy the film.'

Unlike 'although', 'however' can be used in a separate sentence: 'I didn't enjoy the film. However, I think it deserves an award.' Or you can also put both ideas in the same sentence 'I didn't enjoy the film; however, I think it deserves an award.'

Note also that 'although' is not followed by a comma and 'however' is followed by a comma.

I hope this helps you!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello!
It is said here that after in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun. What rules explain this usage:
In spite of what I said yesterday I still love you. OR
In spite of all that has been said, they have been doing what they think is right.

Hello Hope-hope

'despite' and 'in spite of', as prepositionals, can be followed by a word, phrase or clause acting as a noun or pronoun. In the two examples you mention, 'what I said yesterday' and 'all that has been said' are clauses acting as nominal objects (nouns) of 'in spite of'.

You could also use a gerund (e.g. 'despite knowing it was a bad idea, ...' and that is fine since gerunds are nominal (meaning they function as nouns).

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

I see now. Thank you very much for the detailed explanation!
Best wishes!

Hello Sir,
I can't understand the mean of the noun: the food, in the sentence below:
:She enjoyed the party despite'' the food''.

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